Peripatetics - Religion and Expressive Culture

Religious Beliefs and Practitioners. The majority of the peripatetics are Hindus. There are also some Sikh and Muslim peripatetics. Their religious beliefs and practices reflect the influence of the traditions of the "home village."

Arts. Peripatetics' art is expressed through their subsistence activities. Numerous variety of bhiksaks (beggars) compose their songs and also employ different types of instruments and makeup. For example, one mendicant observed in a Mysore village wore more than 100 items on his body, and it took him a couple of hours to dress and paint himself with religious marks. Peripatetics try to be exclusive and try to remain in demand. For example, Budbudki, peripatetic fortune-tellers of Karnataka, use drums so tiny they can be held between their forefingers and thumbs; they play them while they visit houses in a locality in the morning to forecast the day's events for each household. The name of this group is taken from the sound of the drum. Leather puppeteers, acrobats, and displayers of animals continually express their creative urges through their professions.

Medicine. The majority of the peripatetics has not taken to scientific medicine. They use their own knowledge or that of the settled people to treat disease. Women give birth in their camps or at their "home villages." There are some groups that specialize in herbal medicines.

Death and Afterlife. Peripatetics accept death as part of life. They dispose of the dead body as quickly as they can, usually in the camp where the death has taken place. When they get together in the off-season, they may organize ceremonies for the dead.

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